Something a little different this week… Instead of the usual Week in Gin & Beer blog I decided to go down a different route. The main reason being I have been on holiday in Berlin and wanted an excuse to show off the food and beer but also, truth be told, I don’t really pay attention to social media when on holiday so I’m not too up to speed on whats been going on this week!
So I figured as a result of these two factors I’d just discuss my thoughts on the German beers that I’d been having whilst away.
I think it’s fair to say that the Germans are known for their beer… And it turns out there’s a good reason… The beer is seriously amazing.
I had two rules for the days we were away… Eat German and drink German and, for the most part, we were successful… The only deviation being for Dunkin Donuts… But how could I resist? We don’t have them in Scotland… Had to.
I noticed that, in the areas we visited, there were a good number of bars that seemed to be specific to a particular beer “brand”… These were EXACTLY what I was after.
The first beer we hit was Lowenbrau… We kinda stumbled into this place wandering about the general area of the hotel. We were starving having not long landed so as soon as I saw this place and realised they sold currywurst I was flying in the door!!!
Meaning “Lion’s brew” in German this beer is brewed in Munich in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot AKA the German Purity Regulation of 1516.
The particular beer we had was the Helles or Hell which, it appears, is a German pale ale thats generally produced in Southern Germany… Munich for example!
5.2% ABV I really enjoyed this and couldn’t think of a better introduction to German beer in Germany than this. I noticed on the menu that the two sizes offered differed from what I’m used to… Here in the UK we have, for the most part, a pint or a half pint… In Germany it appears they offer 500ml or 1 litre… Or proper size and tourist size as the chap working there put it… We opted for tourist size… the 500ml.
The beer was quite low in carbonation, very very clean, smooth and easy to drink. I’d have happily returned there for more beer if we’d stayed longer or there wasn’t as much variety around!!!
The next beer we went for is, perhaps a deviation from the two rules I mentioned earlier… I had to go… I had to… We hit Brewdog. The Berlin Mitte bar was on my list as soon as I got my Brewdog passport! I love daft things like that so I absolutely had to get my stamp from Berlin.
I enjoyed a pint of their Mistletoe Mafia lager which I mentioned to you in last week’s blog. I honestly love Brewdog lager and even just writing about it is making me thirsty! They are just so easy to drink and full of flavour! This one was no different. I had been keeping an eye on the bar’s taps in the days preceding us arriving in Berlin and Mistletoe Mafia hadn’t been on… It literally went live that day so I was very very lucky!
The other drink there that I honestly don’t think is available in any other bar is what they called Dog Grog. In Germany they seem to have a selection of Christmas drinks (which I’ll get into a bit later) one of which is Grog… This was a variant of grog… It wasn’t really for us to be honest but I think I can see its appeal… Especially on a cold Berlin night!
Take a gander at the menu description of it below for your reference!
This next bit annoys me… Alot. I had a cracking beer… An IPA… But I never noted the brewer… I was so annoyed when I got home and realised this that I spent some time googling it and trying to find it! The restaurant we had it in doesn’t have their draft beer on their menu… All I can say is it was an IPA and it was fantastic. It had the cleanness of the German beers we had enjoyed until this point but the fruity undercurrent of an IPA. Although they served it in an unbranded glass so… Obviously not only has that made it taste less good (FACT) but also has contributed to the problem of me blogging a mystery beer.
The other beer at this point was a lovely pilsner – Schultheiss. Again, a delicious and smooth, crisp drink that went down a treat. Went wonderfully well with the food and wasn’t overpowered or lost but similarly complimented the food as apposed to taking over the taste buds.
We sat in the hotel that night having a few jars. Unfortunately the draft selection wasn’t great… Ironically they seemed to be more focussed on gins as they had a wonderful gin selection… But we weren’t in Germany for no gin!!! Beers on offer totaled three… One we definitely didn’t fancy so we grabbed one each of the other two… Konig Ludwig Weissbier which is a wheat beer. Not my favourite I must admit but the other half really enjoyed it. I, however, had a Warsteiner. I’ve had this beer before as the restaurant down the road from my house sells it so I already knew I’d enjoy it. What I will say though is that, of all the beers we had over there this one had the strongest biscuity taste… They all had it, I noticed it was almost a theme of the beers was this taste, but this brand has it the strongest. Still a cracking beer but that just meant the others pipped it for me.
I was finally able to try Berliner Kindl. I had seen it advertised everywhere but was yet to be in a bar where they sold it to have some. On the last day we went into a restaurant for lunch and there it was… Wonderful. We both got the tourist size of it and enjoyed it immensely… This was my beer of the holiday without any doubt. Perfectly carbonated, perfectly flavoured and just a stunning beer. I can see why the woman working in the restaurant was so keen for us to have it.
I’m unsure if you can buy it in the UK but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it and I recommend you try it if you see it… It’s amazing.
Also PS look at those awesome glasses!! I actually can’t wait to have this again some time!
The last beer we had was the Augustiner. We both went with the Hell as we had enjoyed Hell before from the Lowenbrau so it seemed a safe bet given we didn’t know what most of the rest were! Again, a stunning smooth beer that would be far too easy to drink… I noticed this bar was always rammed so we were really chuffed to get in and snag a seat. Another one to keep an eye out for and one I’d certainly recommend you try if you see it somewhere. This beer does have a bar at the Schonefeld airport so… That’s good to know! This beer was the most subtly flavoured beer for me… It was nice but not as strong tasting as the rest… A quiet beer.
So German beer, from my point of view, is really crisp, really clean tasting, low in its carbonation, biscuity and well deserving its good reputation… Keep an eye out for it!
Its worth pointing out that I’ve kept the beer fairly German since I came home by enjoying some West beers. West brews its beers according to the purity law discussed earlier. This gives it that same perfect carbonation and beautiful crisp clean flavour.
Wests consumed include –
G40, Wild West and DRK.
Basilcally a golden ale (G40), an unfiltered lager (Wild West) and a dunkel (a dark lager). I’m not daft about G40… There’s something about it’s flavour that I’m not a fan of… Its very perfumed tasting or grassy. Wild West is a fantastic lager… I really love it… Its ALMOST as good as the German gear we’d been enjoying just days before… No mean feat. The Dunkel I wasn’t a fan of but it had an interesting flavour… It tasted like lager but had the tones of a stout… Very odd. The other half loved it.
Finally I’ll touch on the festive drinks I mentioned earlier… Firstly there’s grog which we’ve briefly mentioned… Essentially its hot water, rum and spices… I have a little run sample I received so I’m tempted to try this. They then have Eierpunsch… Or egg punch… I understand it to be similar to egg nog… I didn’t like this… Genuinely not my cup of tea at all. Then there is the Gluhwein… Mulled wine… I’d never tried mulled wine before but I figured if I was going to drink German I really needed to indulge in this and try it and I’m so glad I did. It was absolutely up there for drink of the holiday for me… Stunning… I’m now in the process of reading some recipes to make my own for Christmas!!!
All in we ate, drank and were merry. A great trip and eye opening to what beer can be.